I don't go to Mason's commencement ceremonies. Or, at least I have not yet attended any since my own MA graduation (and at my age that decision was pretty much touch and go until the last moment.) It's not that I don't like the pomp and circumstance. I really like the music, the processionals, the faculty in full academic regalia and I really, really like the screams and applause from families in the bleachers. I enjoy the address, the decorated mortarboards, the handshakes on stage. What I don't like, quite honestly, is saying goodbye.
I'm a sappy, sentimental and proud professor. I give my "final words" lecture with a huge lump in my throat as I exhort these hopefuls to take charge of their destiny and in times of trouble, to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm not sad to see them graduate; I'm ecstatic. I am brimming with excitement to see the first email that comes back about an interview or even better, the "I got the job" message. It is just so rewarding.
I'm tempted to attend because I know I would like their moms and dads and sisters or brothers. I'd have so much fun telling the parents about their child as a student. My tail would be wagging the whole darn day. Maybe next time, maybe next time.